Collaboration over isolation: how REC Philly’s cultivating a thriving artistic community
We’re expanding in Philadelphia! With fully-furnished suites, all-inclusive utilities, household essentials, and an incredible location, we will have two new coliving buildings, as well as one building with completely private unfurnished apartments, open in the city of brotherly love by the beginning of next year.
To celebrate, we set out to get to know some of our neighbors, and we quickly found that Philadelphia was filled with entrepreneurs, change-makers, and artists ready to make a difference–REC Philly is definitely leading in this arena.
REC is unlike any place on earth. Almost like a gym for artists, the artistic membership allows each member to sharpen their business skills, work in dedicated studios, collaborate, and network for new project opportunities. We spoke with their Co-founder and CEO, Dave Silver to learn more about how they got started and their secret to cultivating a community, even during a pandemic.
Hi Dave! Can you tell us more about how REC Philly got started?
It all began when Will Toms, my best friend from high school, and I were struggling to make progress investing into shows and other studios for an aspiring hip hop artist. Our aspirations had always been to change the world through music, media, and entertainment, but we were spending a great deal of money with very little return.
This experience pushed us to take our future into our own hands by throwing our own events and owning our own creative space. At that moment, REC was born. Quickly, we realized that other creators needed similar resources (shows, studio space, community), so we started to form a business model out of it.
From then on, our mission was clear:
“We’re here to provide the resources, opportunities, and education for creative entrepreneurs to get paid for what they love to do.”
Did REC have to shift during the pandemic?
Sadly, we had to close our space, which had just opened in December 2019. It was tough, but we were able to quickly move our entire membership to a digital platform by offering virtual educational programming and community building events. While this was not ideal, it ended up being a useful challenge. By finding ways to provide value to the creative community outside of just our space, our business was now more accessible to serve a broader group of creators. Another silver lining is that REC was also able to raise funds through our business partners to send grants out to creatives who were greatly impacted by COVID-19!
What’s unique about the artistic community in Philly?
In my opinion, the talent level in Philly is the best in the world. I know it seems biased for me to say it – but it’s true. In terms of musicians, I challenge anyone to look at any national touring artist and find one without a Philly-based creator in their crew. This city breeds top-shelf talent.
What are the benefits of artists coming together in community to learn and collaborate?
Rising tide lifts all boats, right? For any artist, knowledge and resource sharing is vital. At REC, our artists are learning and growing every day in the community by finding new ways to monetize and turn their art into a business. It’s important artists share this knowledge with each other in order to grow as a community. On top of that, collaboration is such a beautiful benefit of working together. Art goes places you never thought it would when you collaborate with someone new. It’s one of my favorite things to watch.
For our business, the partnerships we have here really add value to the community and take things to the next level. Whether it’s with Live Nation, WXPN, WSFS Bank, or Ballard Spahr, they provide learning and growth opportunities that help our members on a day-to-day basis. Philly has access to a wealth of partners that can help our community grow.
Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about?
There’s always upcoming projects we’re excited about! Whether it’s a new project being worked on by a member or something our team is working on. Specifically, we’re launching our REC Relief Part 2 campaign by the start of 2021. We will be distributing more than $30k in new grant opportunities to creative in the city. One of our top projects we are working on is BlackMusicCity.com, and I’m excited to watch that unfold! If you’re interested in keeping up with our upcoming projects or our community, head to our website or follow REC Philly on Instagram.